Inside HGTV’s ‘Smart Home’ 2013

Popular network collaborated with CEA's TechHome Division on Florida home.


Photos credit: HGTV

In a move that we’ll file under the category of “increased awareness for home control is a good thing,” popular cable network HGTV has unveiled its Smart Home 2013 that was built in part thanks to a collaboration with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

For its yearly “Dream Home” giveaways, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen HGTV delve into the realm of custom electronics and home control — two years ago the network had a beautiful “Green Home” constructed in Vermont that featured an extensive Lutron lighting control and shading system, plus Honeywell HVAC and HAI security systems.

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This time around, HGTV had help from CEA’s TechHome Division in implementing its TechHome Rating System (THRS) to outfit this Jacksonville, Fla., Smart Home up to the organization’s Gold Rating standards, which call for a whole-house network that distributes audio, video, data, telephone, television, home automation and security signals into multiple rooms, according to the CEA.

“By partnering with HGTV, CEA can highlight the TechHome Rating System to the winning Smart Home family and the HGTV viewers,” says Laura Hubbard, CEA’s senior manager of division and policy communications. “As emerging technologies continue to propel us toward an ever-connected lifestyle, a home designed with the proper technology infrastructure is critical for seamlessly integrating devices in the home. The TechHome Rating System is a high-tech guide that explains to consumers, homebuyers and realtors the digital functions a home is equipped to handle.”

As noted on HGTV’s Smart Home site an ADT Pulse system is providing the brains of the high-tech operations. Most of the featured products listed are more of the furnishings, appliances (some of which look pretty intelligent, like the spa controls and kitchen ware) and construction materials variety, but here’s what HGTV tells us of some of the goodies the home controls and other amenities deliver:

  • Pool automation controls lighting, temp, fountains from tablet or smartphone
  • Garage door openers: notification system alerts if the garage door is left open; ability to remotely open door
  • Cooktop: Induction unit heats only cookware. No extra heat into the room saves energy. Pan recognition system: element will not turn on if other small objects are placed on cooking surface
  • Toilets: built in seat warmers, automatic open/close lid, hands-free flush mechanism
  • Faucets have sensors that turn water on and off automatically
  • Shower can be turned on remotely and programmed to pre-set temps for each family member
  • Exterior awnings can be opened/closed remotely and have sensors for rain and wind that close the awning automatically
  • Interior privacy shades can be raised or lowered via phone or tablet
  • Energy monitoring system via tablet.

Of course, in the comments section on HGTV, most of the high-tech excitement is over the trio of living room LED TVs on the wall, which also employ Vutec ArtScreen systems (put in by Moore Electrical Contractors, Jacksonville) that feature motorized artwork by Isabelle Gautier that can be raised and lowered to reveal the screen using “the home’s smart tablet,” according to HGTV (or what we usually refer to as a touchpanel, in many instances these days and also in this Smart Home more likely an iPad). Kudos to the designers on the multi-screen TV installation and the motorized artwork, both of which we love seeing here on Electronic House as staples of creative display options by custom electronics pros.

The team behind HGTV’s Smart Home is led by project planner Jack Thomasson, who also headed the Green Home, and includes architect Mike Stauffer, builders Glenn Layton and John Harris, interior designer Linda Woodrum (another HGTV home project vet) and landscape architect Jeremy Marquis. There is no specific CE pro mentioned on HGTV’s site, but we’d imagine ADT used its own technicians to work with HGTV’s team. Flat-panel TVs in the master bedroom and loft area, as well as in-ceiling speakers throughout can be seen in some of the photos below in what looks like a pretty nice and clean installation.

You can find many, many more images on the HGTV gallery site, but here’s a glimpse of some rooms, with caption information by HGTV:

Living room – Continuing a focus on sustainable, locally sourced materials, a wall of pickled pecky cypress houses three flat-screen TVs, programmable via the home’s smart tablets. Motorized TV covers feature artwork by Isabelle Gautier, transferred to a flexible surface that lifts and lowers via the home’s smart tablet. A series of transom windows and the peaked ceiling, vaulted to a height of 19’8″, contribute to the room’s expansive presence.

Kitchen – The beach-blue wall color extends into the kitchen, where cottage-style maple cabinetry and oversized pendant lights carve out vintage style, belying the room’s high-tech features, including refrigerator and freezer columns and an induction cooktop with both speed heating and full-touchscreen interface features.

Dining room – Open to the kitchen, great room and back deck, the dining area transforms to a cozy cocoon when linen drapes are drawn. Formal furnishings in a dark finish elevate the design, while a graphic-print area rug grounds the space and lends a contemporary element. Honeycomb louver shades offer privacy and also control solar heat gain and UV damage to furnishings and artwork. Tied into the whole-home automation system, shades can be programmed to raise and lower at certain times of the day.

Deck – Exterior soffits become a focal point when painted in a semigloss shade of beachy blue. (You can make out one of the home’s 10 security cameras under the eave.)

Pool – Drama begins in the backyard, where a lap pool invites casual summer gatherings and provides a focal point from every adjoining interior space. With lighting, water temperature, jets and fountains programmable from a smart tablet, the pool becomes the center of summer entertaining. The living room’s telescoping glass doors open out onto the covered deck and pool area, where one may view one of the living room’s TVs with corresponding audio streamed outside. At night the pool area is illuminated by recessed LED deck lights, the pool’s own color-changeable fountain light, vintage-chic light fixtures and light streaming forth from interior spaces.

Master bedroom – A bedside iPad controls the mattress base, which adjusts to accommodate several ergonomic rest positions. The user can adjust head and leg positions as well as head, lumbar and leg massage, and preset both position and massage modes. An LED TV offers the luxury of cinema in bed. Media equipment and DVDs are easily stowed in the travertine-topped cottage-style server, which doubles as a media cabinet in the master bedroom.

Master bathroom – Clear glass encompasses the wet enclosure, while a wall of frosted glass offers a buffer of privacy in the water closet area while allowing sunlight to stream through. (You can see the ceiling speaker, plus there are cool shower remote and spa control options.)

We applaud HGTV’s and the CEA’s efforts on this home, and hope to see this trend continue in their future home giveaways … perhaps with some big-name participation from the custom electronics industry (I’m looking at you, Crestron, Savant, AMX, Control4 and the like) for true home automation and an even higher IQ “smart home.”

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